In The Shadow of Fuji
The Fugaku Sanju Rokkei (Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji), justifiably became the most admired work of the Japanese woodblock print master Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Published in the early 1830s, it was the culmination of a painstaking study of this sacred Japanese volcano from virtually every angle, in all seasons, and at many different times of the day. Sometimes Mt. Fuji dominates the print while at other times it is itself dwarfed by another force of nature, such as the famous "Great Wave" of Kanagawa. In other cases a distant Mt. Fuji presides benevolently over activities in Edo, th emodern city of Tokyo. In Hokusai's skilled hands, the powers of nature and the presence of man are brought together in a brilliant evocation of the Japanese landscape. In Hokusai's Fugaku Sanju-Rokkei, a print artist exhibited for the first time full control over this subject matter with techniques indebted to both Eastern and Western art. In fact, this period might well be considered the heydey of the Japanese landscape print, for 1883 also saw the publication of Hiroshige's equally famous Tokaido gojusan-tsugi (Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido). As well as a selection of works from the original Fugaku Sanju-Rokkei, this exhibition features two of the ten later supplementary prints known as the Ura-Fuji (Fuji from the Other Side). Together they present a unique view of this dormant volcano that has become a symbol of the Japanese nation. Seldom has any mountain been studied so sensitively and revealed in so encompassing a manner.